There's a company in California that created the world's first biodegradable, disposable coffee cup that plants trees and flowers when it's thrown away! It's kind of a brilliant idea I think.
The company is called Reduce. Reuse. Grow. and their cup is embedded with seeds... the coffee doesn't actually come in contact with them so they're preserved to grow later.
You can see the seeds in the cup:
The theory is that after people use the cup they can unravel it and there's a map with instructions on where to plant the cup. lol. They're supposed to soak the paper in water for 5 minutes and then plant it in the suggested locations.
I laugh because almost no one is going to take the time to do this. However, the cup is still a great idea because so many people are pigs and will just chuck the cup out the car window while driving down the highway.
Which means it will still break down rather quickly and the seeds will sprout if they land on soil. The problem is, I'm sure the cost of making these type of cups is at least ten time higher than a regular paper cup.
Just in the United States alone, 460 BILLION disposable coffee cups are thrown out and end up in land fills each year. So even though they are a small item, a dent could definitely be made if most were biodegradable.
Need more of these guys but don't hold your breath:
Styrofoam vs. Paper
You'd think that styrofoam(Polystyrene) would be so much worse for the environment that they should all be banned immediately. But not so fast...studies show that paper cups are just as damaging to the environment.
In fact a Dutch study found their impact to be equal:
Compared to making paper cups, manufacturing polystyrene cups:
- requires about 42 percent less water
- needs about 17 percent less energy
- uses 22 percent less petroleum to source materials and ship cups
- doesn’t call for chemicals that can harm water if not disposed of properly, such as chlorine dioxide
- doesn’t necessitate the cutting of trees
In contrast, when compared to foam cups, paper cups:
- produce about 28 percent fewer greenhouse gasses
- decompose in a landfill in 20 years, as opposed to 1 million-plus
- decompose in water in just a few days, instead of 50 years
- are far easier to recycle and recycled at a higher rate
- aren’t toxic (see above) source
Even though studies are finding them to have a fairly equal impact, companies are going more with paper because of the toxicity and the length of time for degrading of polystyrene.
Common sense solution
The best thing to do is just take your own coffee mug or tumbler with you. In fact, Starbucks supports this idea and will give you a 10 cent discount if you bring in your own mug.
I know that ain't gonna be widely adopted though because it takes more effort. However, we're heading in the right direction and with innovations like the CA company came up with we'll eventually solve the pollution problem. I think.
Thanks for stopping by folks, God bless you all!
PS- I saw this photo on my wife's facebook feed. Some guy walking down the street with a cat sitting on his head. lol. He must be a smooth walker!